I have some pretty strong feelings about eugenics (it's a good and necessary practice), but I find it very, VERY difficult to talk about it with anyone since I'm instantly labeled a Nazi for supporting it. I'm hoping the folks on Think Atheist will be more inclined to intellectual discussion than name-calling and dismissal.

 

The start off, some disclaimers: genocide is wrong; taking human rights away from people of a race/religion/hairstyle you don't like is wrong; concentration camps are wrong; violence in wrong.

 

There. Now to the actual discussion.

 

When I talk about eugenics, I'm talking about the practice of systematically removing debilitating genetic traits and defects from a population by means of regulating the reproduction of its citizens. Do you have Schizophrenia? Did you know that this ailment is genetic and very easy to pass on to you children? Please, do not punish an innocent child with this problem. Are you genetically healthy, intelligent, and talented? Do you have special immunities that make you less likely to get sick? By all means, spread these traits to future generations, either by having children yourself or donating to a sperm or egg bank. Do you want children but should not carry your genetic problems onto them? Adopt. Adoption will always be available no matter what the society (just because someone has good genetic material does NOT mean they would make a good parent). Do you say that adoption is not the same? Then I suppose you care more about satisfying your selfish desires than the well being of a child.

 

Eugenics is, at its base, very simple - think about the future first.

I'm leaving this post now for what I'm hoping will be thoughtful and anti-inflammatory discussion.

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No mom would say "Yes I want my child blind."  But we don't have the technology to predict if/when or how a kid goes blind. He might go blind because his retinas detach 7 days after he's born. He might go blind because his parents bottle feed him Coca Cola (loaded with mercury). Or some soy drink that's all the rage that causes him to stop insulin reuptake when he's nine. People are screwed for a lot of reasons besides genetics!

Congrats!
I had my tubes tided (cauterised) at age 30, but I had to nearly threaten the doc to have it done!

The moronic pro-lifers who insist that all foetus have the right to be born, yet care not for the crap life that is likely to ensue. The time where kids sue parents is coming... pollution, physical/mental abuse.

Basically I have practised auto-eugenics. Funny how my friends are all convinced I'd make a "great parent", and are always so saddened that the "best" potential parents are not the ones breeding. Indeed, I'm being a great parent by not breeding.

I bet you're an honorary auntie or something. 

On and off! LOL
I teach part-time, I work part-time, I travel part-time, and I do lots of community volunteering.
A half century ago I would have been called a spinster... (with a massive "closet" of life experiences :)

Choosing to abort a fetus because a scan shows a defect, and choosing to get sterilized are two very different things. Choosing to get sterilized, I believe, is an act of laziness and fear. You can screen your children, you just choose not to.

One of the reasons why humans have survived so long is that we are such an adaptable species with so much variation. If you eliminate genetic variations, you make the human race easier to kill off. If you want the human race to continue to exist, it is best not to make the gene pool homogenous. Any of the traits you mentioned could have a beneficial side to them that has simply not yet been discovered. It would be ignorant to eliminate those traits.

Yes!!!!!! YES!!!! It's like trying to play Wheel of Fortune after 500 years of Eugenics. I'd like to buy a vowel - sorry there are only 2 vowels now U & Y and the only letters left are BFKMWYZ

@ Awdur Ffuglen

"Big cities are built to kill people."

"With the proper use of technology (waste-disposal, filtration, decontamination, skyward construction, innovations in renewable energy) the maximum human population of earth is approximately 200 billion. Technological capability is commiserate with population size."

"Areas of high population density and diversity are commonly the birthplaces of significant developments in all fields, not excluding science. (Yes 'commensurate.' Commiserate has to do with sympathy) An example is New York City. Very high population (28 million) relatively low density compared the other largest metropolitan areas. Progress there is quick, competition drives innovation."

You've written a few contradictory things – the above are some of them.

So, are big cities good or bad? If they are bad why advocate for a world population of 200 billion?

Feeding everyone is problematic right now with only 7 billion which makes 20 billion look like it would be disastrous. Why do you think Earth could support 10 times a disastrous amount of people?

What progress has come from NYC? Are you referring to the economic disaster caused by Wall Street as innovation?

You are shoveling hard and fast but it's still crap.

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I would argue that eugenics should be based solely on medical/scientific decisions meaning only eliminating biological problems – which would be at worst, neutral. It is where people try to push for eliminating traits which give rise to social issues – homosexuality is often discussed as a target, usually by the religious – that it is tyranny.

It depends upon being done logically, without succumbing to emotional pleas or imposing one's opinions. Also, proper eugenics would be done pre-conception: testing the parents for genetic (biological) problems and then engineering a fertilized egg without them. For those afraid of "engineering" a child: collect sperm and eggs from the parents, fertilize them in vitro and allow them to divide once then split off one of the cells for testing for the genetic (biological) problems and only implant one without problems saving any other viable ones.

 

As for the "genetic superbeings" idea mentioned earlier in the thread.  How would we engineer superbeings? Right now we couldn't even engineer someone with high intelligence for certain. Plus, that idea is social issues engineering – changing the offspring not to insure they are healthy but to change them to suit someone's agenda. That is not eugenics but rather fascism.

 

Plus, once we start eliminating traits based on social desirability, we risk destroying our genetic potential. Going back to the example of eliminating homosexuality via genetic engineering – what if the recent studies are correct and there is a group of traits passed on together: creativity, public performance, homosexuality, and masculinity/femininity not conforming to cisgender. If getting rid of one of the group inhibits the whole group then engineering human genetics to remove it could cripple the human race. Instead of "Beavis & Butthead" being the lowest entertainment we can produce, it could become the best the future could turn out.

We need to learn an immense amount more about ourselves and our genetics before we even consider trying that. We need to stick to the much safer route of eliminating disease and deformity in fertilized eggs.

"We need to learn an immense amount more about ourselves and our genetics before we even consider trying that."

Mostly agree.

I contradict myself? Then I contradict myself. 
I don't disagree with anything you've said below. Eliminating suffering is a priority. 200 billion always shocks people when they hear it. It's not happening for thousands of years. It's not happening overnight. It might not even happen. I'm saying that it COULD happen and those snazzy future people would pull it off without a hitch. 

The crash wasn't only Wall Street, it was banks all over. Wall Street just has their fingers in all of it. How many ultra-famous scientists, authors, actors, writers are from New York or spent a big chunk of time there?  Like 50%. It's where America crashes head on with the rest of the world. I've lived here 3 years I hate the goddamned place. But I love it. It's a glimpse of the future. But I hate it. Trash every damn place. Thrown out on the sidewalk. Great place. Fuck it.

Hopefully cities of the future won't be built to kill people. They'll be made of white plastic with round orange chairs and computers like size of oven ranges with red eyes that will conduct missions for us. 

"Eliminating disease and deformity in fertilized eggs." 
A nice realistic, practical goal. 

@Awdur Ffuglen;

"200 billion always shocks people when they hear it."

Then maybe you should quit saying that.

I would never get a damn vasectomy. Hell! Are you crazy? My genes are awesome! I would run around the world like Wilt Chamberlain. Sure my child support bills would be $4 million USD due on the 16th of every month. I'd have an army of angry fatherless children who hated my guts.

No, seriously I wouldn't do that. You have no idea how your kids will turn out. Unless some dickhead doctors says "Hey, don't fuck because your kid might have ezcema."  Or some asshole mixes a cesium 60 pellet in with the gravel they used for your apartment building and all your kids are mutants no matter how hard you try, this whole sterilization kick is just self-pity, self-abuse, depression, programming, delusional bullshit. 

 

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